Thursday, October 09, 2008

South Africa: Local rider set for world champs - Times Hermanus

09/10/2008 10:49 AM - (SA)

An endurance rider from the farm Elandskloof between Hermanus and Caledon, Naomi Muller, will represent South Africa at the 2008 World Endurance Championship. The South African team consists of five riders, ten grooms, a manager, a veterinarian, a farrier and a equine physiotherapist.

The 2008 championship will take place in Terengganu, Malaysia, from 6-9 November. A total of 150 riders from 36 countries will participate in the event in which one rider and one horse complete a distance of 160 km in the shortest possible time.

This will be the sixth time that Naomi represents South Africa. She represented her country at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Germany, where the team finished ninth, and at the 2007 All Africa Games in Algeria where the South African team won the silver medal. She also represented South Africa at three Tri Nations Championships (a regional competition between South Africa, Namibia and Botswana).

Naomi's horse, Khyber, spent six weeks in quarantine in Cape Town before flying out to Europe. She joined him there on 15 September. They are based in the village of Morlaix in France, where they will complete their preparations for the event. They will travel to Malaysia on 20 October.

Endurance riding is an equestrian sport based on controlled long distance races. It is one of the international competitions recognised by the International Equestrian Federation and takes place worldwide. The winning horse is the first one to cross the finish line while stopping periodically (every 30 km) to pass a veterinary check that deems the animal in good health and “fit to continue”. Most endurance rides are either 80 or 160 km long, though shorter rides are organised for beginners and a few longer, usually multi-day, rides exist. Winning riders complete 160 km rides in 9-12 hours, depending on the terrain and weather conditions.

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